Explorative analysis of 2D color maps
Color is one of the most important visual variables in information visualization. In many cases, two-dimensional information can be color-coded based on a 2D color map. A variety of color maps as well as a number of quality criteria for the use of color have been presented. The choice of the best color map depends on the analytical task users intend to perform and the design space in choosing an appropriate 2D color map is large. In this paper, we present the ColorMap-Explorer, a visual-interactive system that helps users in selecting the most appropriate 2D color map for their particular use case. ColorMap-Explorer also provides a library of many color map implementations that have been proposed in the scientific literature. To analyze their usefulness for different tasks, ColorMap-Explorer provides use case scenarios to allow users to obtain qualitative feedback. In addition, quantitative metrics are provided on a global (i.e. per color map) and local (i.e. per point) scale. ColorMap-Explorer enables users to explore the strengths and weaknesses of existing as well as user-provided color maps to find the best fit for their task. Any color map can be exported to be reused in other visualization tools. The code is published as open source software, so that the visualization community can use both the color map library and the ColorMap-Explorer tool. This also allows users to contribute new implementations.